Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Updates
Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that is generally spread from person-to-person when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to the flu or other respiratory illnesses. The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Massachusetts was reported on February 1, 2020. The number of confirmed cases in Massachusetts began to increase rapidly in early March
On Sunday, March 15, the City of Lowell was notified by DPH that two Lowell residents have tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first positive cases in the City. As of May 28, there have been 2,591 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Lowell residents. According to statistics from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), there have been 94,220 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts.
Led by the Health Department and Emergency Management team, the City of Lowell has undertaken vigorous response and preparedness efforts since the onset of the coronavirus crisis. These efforts have taken place in coordination with state agencies and local health partners, including Lowell General Hospital, Trinity EMS and the Lowell Community Health Center and have resulted in positive developments that have enhanced the community’s health infrastructure, including expanded testing and hospital bed capacity.
Coronavirus symptoms may appear within two to fourteen days of exposure to the virus, and include: fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, headache, muscle pain, chills, repeated shaking with chills, and loss of taste or smell. The severity of these symptoms ranges among patients. Click here for more information regarding symptoms from the CDC.
Individuals displaying symptoms, even if they are mild, should contact their healthcare provider for guidance regarding testing. Massachusetts residents may also check their symptoms online through a service offered by Buoy Health to determine if testing is appropriate.
On April 7, CVS Health launched a rapid testing site in Lowell, located in the parking lot of the Showcase Cinema. The site is drive-through only, and produces on-the-spot results for patients in approximately 15 minutes. The site is open 9am-5pm Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm on Saturday and 10am-3pm on Sunday. Symptomatic individuals seeking a test are required to pre-register on the CVS Minute Clinic website.
Most other testing sites require a referral from an individual’s primary care physician. Click here to view an interactive map produced by MEMA of all testing sites in Massachusetts. Individuals that do not have a PCP may contact the Lowell Community Health Center, which has implemented a system to screen patients to determine if testing is in order.
Any person who is demonstrating symptoms of coronavirus should remain in quarantine through the duration of this process, and should not leave their home until a negative test is produced.
MONITORING AND CONTACT TRACING
The City’s Health Department is notified of each confirmed case of COVID-19 in Lowell. Public health nurses contact each patient to ensure that they are aware of isolation requirements, to ensure that they have the resources and support needed to get through isolation, and to determine others that they have been in contact with. Through a process known as contact tracing, the Department’s staff works to connect with each contact to advise them of protocols given their exposure to the virus. Contact tracing is a critical public health function in containing the spread of coronavirus. It is important that residents who are contacted by a public health nurse cooperate fully. Please look out for incoming calls from a 978-674 exchange, or that appear as "City of Lowell" on your caller ID, as these may be contact tracing calls.
CITY HALL OPERATIONS
In order to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health and safety of City of Lowell staff, City Hall and all other City buildings have been closed to the public since March 16, 2020 and will remain closed until further notice. This includes the Pollard Memorial Library. Essential City of Lowell employees continue to report to work, with non-essential employees working remotely. Residents and other individuals seeking services or to attend to City-related business can do so remotely online, by phone or through the mail. Call 978-674-4400 for more information.
STATEWIDE MITIGATION ORDERS/ACTIONS
Governor Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts on March 10, 2020, enhancing the administration’s ability to respond to the coronavirus crisis.
On March 15, Governor Baker ordered the closure of all public and private schools in Massachusetts, which has subsequently been expanded through the end of the current academic year. This also applied to childcare facilities, which have been ordered to remain closed through June 29, 2020.
On March 24, 2020, Governor Baker ordered the closure of non-essential businesses and operations, and issues a stay-at-home advisory for all residents. The administration has published a comprehensive list of businesses and organizations that are considered essential services and are able to continue operations during the crisis. The order has been extended through May 18. The Administration is expected to begin allowing certain businesses to re-open beginning on that date according to a multi-phase plan.
Effective May 6, per an additional executive order of the Governor, the use of masks or face coverings is required in public places where it is not possible to maintain appropriate social distance. Click here for more information on this order.
On May 18, the Administration announced phase one of the state’s four-phase reopening plan. Under this phase, limited industries will be permitted to resume operations with stringent guidelines and restrictions. Manufacturing and construction is permitted to resume today. Beginning on May 25, certain personal services including hair salons, barber shops and dog groomers will be able to reopen with restrictions. Offices will be permitted to re-open at 25% capacity, and retail services may resume for remote fulfillment/curbside pickup. All businesses, including essential businesses that have been in operation through the stay-at-home order, will be required to self-certify compliance with enhanced safety protocols. This phase permits the reopening of parks, beaches and certain other forms of outdoor entertainment. Previously halted forms of preventative healthcare are also allowed to resume at hospitals, community health centers and other health care providers.
For more information on the administration’s phased re-opening plan, click here.
PROTECT YOURSELF AND HELP STOP THE SPREAD
The most effective way to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic is to limit your risk for exposure, meaning remaining at home whenever possible and limiting contact with individuals outside of your household. Other recommendations from the CDC and other health authorities include:
>Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
>When soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
>Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
>Wear a mask/face covering when leaving your house.
>Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
>Avoid People who are sick.
>Stay home when you are sick.
Residents with any questions or concerns related to coronavirus are encouraged to contact the City of Lowell’s Emergency Operation Center (EOC) at 978-674-4052. The EOC is staffed Monday-Friday from 8:30AM to 4:30PM at 978-674-4052 or contact the 2-1-1 line set up by the state. Massachusetts residents are encouraged to sign up for updates from the state by texting COVIDMA to 888-777.
City of Lowell - Emergency Operations CenterPhone: 978-674-4052
8:30am - 4:30pm
Monday - Friday
Updates from the City of Lowell
COVID-19 CASES IN LOWELL
TOTAL NUMBER OF CURRENT CASES